Innovative Kentucky Businesses Awarded $900,000 in Match Funding
Program supports higher-paying jobs and technology development
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 1, 2021) – Nine high-tech Kentucky companies will receive a total $900,000 in state matching grants to support high-paying jobs and technology development in the commonwealth, Gov. Andy Beshear announced today.
The grants are part of the commonwealth’s nationally recognized Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds program. The Kentucky grants match in part $4.77 million in federal grants the businesses will collectively receive.
“We have some incredible innovators in Kentucky, and it’s crucial that we support their growth and continue to attract new tech-based businesses to the commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “Not only does our state’s SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program help Kentucky companies in developing cutting-edge, life-improving technology, it also fosters job creation in some of our country’s most high-paying fields. Kentucky continues to position itself as a national leader as we enter the post-pandemic economy, and I am so proud of the amazing developments occurring right here in the commonwealth.”
The program, overseen by KY Innovation within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, provides critical non-dilutive capital for promising early stage tech companies by matching all or part of federal SBIR/STTR awards received by Kentucky-based companies or companies committing to relocating to the state.
To date, KY SBIR companies have received $7 in federal or private capital for every $1 leveraged through the state’s matching funds program. These businesses also have created 698 well-paying jobs – 45% with annual salaries over $50,000 – and filed 218 patents. KY SBIR match recipients have more than $28 million in sales and licensing revenue.
The nine Kentucky-based businesses awarded matching funds are using technology to advance multiple fields, from robotics to cancer care. Recipient companies are:
Active Therapy Systems LLC (Nicholasville):
Active Therapy Systems (ATS) is developing a technology to deliver personalized, automated and adaptive physical therapies for people with Parkinson’s disease. The technology acts as a virtual coach for patients, facilitating remote therapeutic exercise and social engagement via an in-home device that monitors real-time functionality to adapt cloud-based digital content to improve physical performance, cognition and physiological response to exercise.
Adelphi Technology LLC (Bowling Green):
Adelphi Technology develops a compact gas analyzer to be applied to indoor air quality management and geochemical monitoring and exploration. The project will expand a range of air quality and industrial monitoring uses, including long-term applications of the analyzer to detect leaks in natural gas and other pipelines. While in general the instrument is an environmental monitor, it has a broad range of potential applications, from the detection of bacterial infections from the air near a wound to the analysis of the content of soil from its emissions.
HealthTech Solutions Inc. OmniLife (Lexington):
This project addresses the need for an efficient communications software technology for organ procurement organizations and transplant centers to help find matches for patients needing an organ transplant. The technology, combined with clinical decision support powered by machine learning, could significantly improve use of donated kidneys and increase the number of viable, currently unused organs that could otherwise be successfully transplanted, reducing waste and saving lives.
Hitron Technologies Inc. (Lexington):
Hitron is developing an Intelligent Remote Egg Oiling System (IREOS) that allows for effective nuisance bird management. The proposed IREOS system uses autonomous drones with an intelligent machine vision system, onboard computing and deep learning capability, allowing for on-the-go, real-time bird nest detection and feedback control for egg oiling. With centralized and compact system design, the IREOS can reliably self-navigate in complex environments.
Inquiry Technologies LLC (London):
The research and product development inspired by Inquiry Technologies allows individuals to better express themselves by using digital capture technology designed to heighten learning, encourage self-evaluation and offer feedback channels providing highly personalized and non-threatening constructive criticism. The technology encourages users to respond to questions and prompts while capturing their speech, facial expressions and any on-screen actions they may be demonstrating in real time. The resulting videos prompt users to self-reflect upon their efforts, make changes as needed and eventually share their work with those in training and/or managerial positions.
Kentucky Imaging Technologies LLC (Louisville):
Kentucky Imaging Technologies (KIT) is working to combat colorectal cancer by developing a system that more accurately detects polyps in a patient’s colon. The company is specifically working to develop a novel approach to Computed Tomography Colonography (CTC), which refers to visualization of the colon’s inner surface via a CT scan. This new approach, KIT-CTC, aims to provide unprecedented accuracy in detecting various types of polyps.
MEMStim LLC (Louisville):
MEMStim aims to produce a scalable manufacturing process for producing readily usable, advanced manufactured cochlear electrode arrays. As opposed to previous generation devices, the arrays presented here are plug-and-play, meaning they can be purchased by cochlear implant manufacturers and integrated directly to their product lines.
VerraGlo LLC (Lexington):
Collaborators at VerraGlo and the University of Kentucky have developed foundational technology for light-emitting metal-organic lumiphores (MOL). MOL sensors can measure peroxide value (PV) in edible fats and oils, which must be continually tested to meet product specifications and assure quality in the food industry. The industry standard for measuring PV requires laboratory glassware, the use of flammable and toxic solvents that are expensive to purchase and dispose of, takes about 15 minutes to conduct, suffers from lack of sensitivity and poor endpoint determination, and requires trained personnel. The current VerraGlo assay that uses MOL sensors can measure PV in about three minutes and uses no laboratory glassware, no solvents and requires no cleanup.
Wild Dog Physics LLC (Lexington):
Wild Dog Physics’ flagship device and service, the Quality Assurance Integrator (QAI), innovates in precise and efficient cancer care by conquering several nagging challenges to top-notch cancer care. The QAI is a radiation medicine hardware device that provides innovative technology, consolidates multiple pieces of equipment, is lightweight, portable and robust, and provides complete regulatory and best practice standards for data collection. It promotes cost-efficiencies, quality improvements, regulatory compliance and better data while improving access to and speed of treatment.
More information on Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program is available at kyinnovation.com/sbir.
The commonwealth is experiencing a wave of strong economic momentum, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Kentucky’s year-to-date private-sector new-location and expansion figures include over $2 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 4,400-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through May, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.15 before benefits, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.